The Class of 2024: Still new?

The Class of 2024 were welcomed on campus briefly in October 2020.
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Freshman year for the Class of 2024 certainly did not go according to plan due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While we could go on about these, yes, unprecedented times, instead we could skip to the consequences: how has the pandemic affected the transitional high school year for the Bellarmine students that are now sophomores? 

The beginning of the 2020-2021 school year was completely virtual. Due to raging COVID-19 case numbers, classes were entirely on zoom. While the end of the 2019-2020 school year presented its own number of challenges, the new year would only extend those struggles. Sophomore McKenna Mitchell explained, “Coming into my freshman year I was optimistic that things would eventually return to normal, but I was disappointed that I would be missing out on a traditional start to high school.” 

The scenario of meeting anyone through a screen can be an uncomfortable task. Moreover, for the freshman class it was not only an entirely new learning environment, but also an entirely new social realm. Sophomore Kayla Johnson said, “Without a doubt, we were ready to attend Bellarmine, just not in this manner. Everyone was forced to mature quicker… which created mounting stress.” 

The freshmen did not get the chance to form relationships with their teachers or classmates in an orthodox way. According to the students themselves, this influenced their sense of community in relation to Bellarmine in quite a few ways.

However, Johnson explained, “In retrospect, virtual school was a time of discipline and self growth. Though not on the scale of in-person learning, I did feel welcomed by the BP community.”

To the hopes and desires of many, school was not entirely virtual for its duration. Sophomore Alison Whalen can attest, as she explained, “The transition from virtual to part-time in-person learning was definitely weird. None of us had done it before, but it was exciting. It was a light at the end of the tunnel that we had all been hoping for.” 

Coming into the 2021-2022 school year, the class of 2024 have had a more ‘normal’ start at Bellarmine. School is now fully in-person once again, while COVID precautions are still in place. All teachers and students are wearing masks. While wearing a mask can create a social barrier in itself, this mandate pales in comparison to the learning environment that was experienced a year prior.

Whalen added her own perspective of the new year and new grade level, “Being a sophomore, you aren’t new, but you also have more learning to do about the school, as well as yourself. I have found my place in cross country and have made friends and teammates through that.” 

Everyone has had a different relationship with their own learning and social life in the past year: but the class of 2024 found common ground in that they all began on a level playing field.